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New York City Here I Come?


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#1 Chris Durham

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 04:08 PM

Hi Everyone. I've just discovered that I'm about to be offered a job in NYC - not a film job, mind you, but the next job in my IT career (the career I'd eventually like to shelve in favor of film). There's been a long interview and review process and I was told today that I've been selected for the position and now it's a matter of coming up with a salary/offer letter. Going from Dallas to NY is a big step up in cost of living so compensation will be a big deciding factor for me. But there's another consideration.

NYC never occurred to me as a place to move until I stumbled upon this job but in terms of prospects for filmmaking it seems an incredible step up from Dallas. At least I think it does. There's always the argument about being a big fish in a (very) small pond versus a minnow in the sea, but I try not to think about that. I figure if my work ethic, skill, talent, and desire to progress are going to take me where I want to go, they will do so no matter where I am (albeit with different hurdles to overcome). The other side of that though is that getting involved in a more established production city with more earnest work being done will be all the more difficult while juggling a day-job. Here in Dallas, it's not horribly abnormal to be a nights and weekends filmmaker and still be taken seriously.

To the perspective of someone like me it seems that cities like LA, New York, and Vancouver represent much broader horizons as a cinematographer and as a director. Sure they represent greater competition, but being in the kiddy pool doesn't feel much like swimming sometimes. Just in terms of professional standards though the world seems much bigger. I mean in terms of progress I'm guessing getting to AC a film commercial in NY is worth oodles more than DPing a prosumerHD short in Texas.

Not to mention that there are educational possibilities - night programs at the New York Film Academy and such (I'm not interested in "film school" so much as learning opportunities), workshops, etc.

There are a lot of things on my mind that will temper my decision when an offer letter appears, but I'm really curious to get other perspectives, particularly from professionals who live and work or have worked there. My view of the place and the opportunities this move might afford me, considering that I'd be maintaining an existing career while pursuing another one, may be grossly skewed.

What insight can any of you offer?

Thanks.
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#2 Robert Costello

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 10:53 AM

There are so many people doing production-related things in NYC on all different levels...
Totally worth experiencing the city...
not without its hassles (money, transportation)...
If you like doing grass-roots things, or scanning craigslist there is a lot of activity...
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#3 Michael LaVoie

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 11:40 AM

The cost of living in NY is absurd. There are advantages to living within the 5 burroughs but there are also advantages to being just 35 minutes outside of NYC in neighboring areas of the bronx and westchester, hoboken etc. The most obvious advantage of the latter is the ability to keep a car and have your own personal transportation. This comes in especially handy when you start putting an equipment package together. Keeping a car or truck in Manhattan can cost as much as renting an apartment in other cities.

On the other hand, living within subway access means unrestricted late night public transportation free of parking hassles which may or may not be useful depending on your hours. One thing to keep in mind if you plan on shifting careers and getting into film is that you should get used to living way below your means now so that you can afford to make that leap. Once you start freelancing in film, it's feast or famine for a long time unless you work as a crew member in which case, it's much easier to find steady gigs. Still, save up about 6 months worth of income to find film jobs and look for them in the spring. Winters suck around here.
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#4 Tenolian Bell

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Posted 12 December 2009 - 01:44 PM

From a filmmaker standpoint, whether the move to NYC is right or not depends on what type of filmmaker you want to be. NYC is much more of a DIY independent scene. Its not directly connected to Hollywood. In many respects the mentality of NY filmmaker is vastly different from the mentality of Hollywood filmmaking.

If you are happy to make interesting artistic works without a great deal of expectation for becoming a Hollywood filmmaker, then NY is a good move. If your goal is to be a studio filmmaker, then the Hollywood environment is likely more suited towards that expectation.
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#5 Scott Bryant

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Posted 13 December 2009 - 10:27 PM

I just moved from Oklahoma to New York.....for dental school. But I'm interested in keeping up with my film making during school (lots of strange medical conditions we learn about to create interesting plot development with). I live in Washington Heights. About 15 minute train ride away from downtown. It's remarkably cheaper than living downtown for a equally sized place.
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CineLab

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Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

rebotnix Technologies

Aerial Filmworks

Willys Widgets

Glidecam

Rig Wheels Passport

Visual Products